Nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide as a photocatalyst

Jinhyun Kim, Sahng Ha Lee, Florian Tieves, Caroline E. Paul, Frank Hollmann, Chan Beum Park*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)
65 Downloads (Pure)


Nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD+) is a key redox compound in all living cells responsible for energy transduction, genomic integrity, life-span extension, and neuromodulation. Here, we report a new function of NAD+ as a molecular photocatalyst in addition to the biological roles. Our spectroscopic and electrochemical analyses reveal light absorption and electronic properties of two p-conjugated systems of NAD+. Furthermore, NAD+ exhibits a robust photostability under UV-Vis-NIR irradiation. We demonstrate photocatalytic redox reactions driven by NAD+, such as O2 reduction, H2O oxidation, and the formation of metallic nanoparticles. Beyond the traditional role of NAD+ as a cofactor in redox biocatalysis, NAD+ executes direct photoactivation of oxidoreductases through the reduction of enzyme prosthetic groups. Consequently, the synergetic integration of biocatalysis and photocatalysis using NAD+ enables solar-to-chemical conversion with the highest-ever-recorded turnover frequency and total turnover number of 1263.4 hour−1 and 1692.3, respectively, for light-driven biocatalytic trans-hydrogenation.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbereaax0501
JournalScience Advances
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 2019


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